Propeller Falls Off Unknown Antonov AN26 In South Sudan

An Antonov AN-26 lost a propeller in South Sudan earlier today. Details of the incident are currently few and far between, which has been the case with other incidents reported in the region. Thankfully, it seems that the aircraft landed safely despite the incident.

Antonov, An-26, lost propeller
The left propeller fell off of an Antonov AN-26 in South Sudan (not pictured). Photo: Getty Images

Without some form of propulsion, aircraft become gliders. While this is rare, it does occasionally happen. Some high-profile incidents where aircraft have lost propulsion are the case of the Gimli Glider and the Miracle on the Hudson. In both of these incidents, the aircraft kept their engines until landing with the lack of propulsion attributed to a lack of fuel and engine failure respectively.

Missing a propeller

Rather than running out of fuel or suffering a bird strike, an AN-26 experienced a lucky escape from an engine failure of a different kind today. While departing from Juba in South Sudan, the aircraft experienced its left-hand propeller seemingly falling off in flight.

According to the Aviation Herald, the incident happened at roughly 12:30 UTC. The aircraft was flying at approximately 200 feet when the incident occurred, meaning that it didn’t have far to fall. It seems it landed near a highway, where workers observed the incident.

The aircraft managed to limp back to Juba Airport, where it had departed moments earlier, on one propeller, seemingly landing without further incident. Juba Airport has the codes JUB and HSSJ and serves the South Sudanese city of Juba. It has a single 3,100m (10,171ft) runway made of asphalt, oriented in the direction 13-31. The airport was rated the worst in the world by Sleeping In Airports in 2017, being described as “a tent with a rotting plywood floor full of dangerous holes”.

As mentioned, it is unclear which aircraft was involved or who was operating it. What we do know is that the plane involved was an Antonov AN-26. According to the AvHearld, all private company operations of AN-62 aircraft have now been banned in South Sudan, with the exception of a single aircraft registered as UR-UZI.

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About the AN-26

The Antonov AN-26 is a light transport plane, unsurprisingly built by Antonov. According to the manufacturer, the type first flew in 1969. The design was primarily based on the AN-24. The main difference is that it features an extended fuselage and a large cargo door at the rear of the aircraft.

Antonov, An-26, lost propeller
The aircraft (not pictured) managed to limp back to its point of departure on its remaining propeller. Photo: Getty Images

The aircraft has a length of 23.8m (78 feet) and a wingspan of 29.2m (95.8 feet). Manufactured in Kyiv, Ukraine, 1,398 of the type were built between 1969 and 1989. The plane has a cruise speed of 440km/h (238 knots), with a range of 1100km (684 miles). The aircraft’s maximum cruise height is 9,000m (29,500 feet).

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